WSH: Cheetahs win to remain on course

March 29th, 2012 - 12:24 am ICT by IANS  

Chennai, March 28 (IANS) Chennai Cheetahs came up with a late surge to turn back a 1-3 deficit and score a 6-4 win against Delhi Wizards here Wednesday to remain on course for a semi-final berth in the World Series Hockey competition.

Starring in Cheetah’s stirring victory were Veerasamy Raja (14), Imran Warsi (47, 51), Adam Sinclair (63, 66), Vikram Pillay (65) while penalty corner specialist Vikramjeet Singh (11, 27, 38, 68) converted four to keep the Wizards afloat.

The victory took Cheetahs’ tally to 19 points with a game in hand while the Wizards, who remained on 16 after 13 outings, were knocked out of contention for the semi-finals.

The first-half clearly belonged to the Wizards who appeared better organized to have the Cheetahs on the backfoot.

With Vikramjeet converting two penalty corners on either side of a Raja goal that came about after the Cheetahs forward snatched the ball from defender Manjeet Kullu, the Wizards went into the break leading 2-1.

Soon after the change of ends, Wizards moved to a 3-1 advantage when Vikramjeet flicked home his third consecutive penalty corner and it looked curtains for the hosts.

However, in a do-or-die situation, the Cheetahs came up with relentless onslaught to enjoy their best moments in the game as they forced a series of penalty corners.

Warsi, who had failed to convert any of the six he had attempted in the previous game, came good with two to put the Cheetahs on equal footing with the Wizards at 3-3 going into the fourth quarter.

The action heated up in the last quarter as both teams pressed hard for a win. The Wizards wasted two penalty corners in quick succession as Vikramjeet struck the crosspiece on both occasions while being rather predictable with the angle and direction of his drag-flicks.

On the other hand, the Cheetahs came up with a few dangerous sallies, but fared rather poorly inside the striking zone until Sinclair got it right with a little over six minutes left when he put home after Vikas Sharma had done the spade work with a run down the right flank.

Then came the decisive moment as the Cheetahs struck again when Vikram Pillay pounced on a rebound after an initial try by Joseph Reardon to slot the ball in and thus cap a fine move that he had initiated.

Sinclair then struck the home team’s sixth goal when he finished a pacy run down the middle with an angular shot to the boards before Vikramjeet converted a penalty corner for the Wizards with about two minutes on the clock.

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